Having first been made for divers and support staff who were left without a watch when the value of their vintage Rolex diving watches exploded leaving them the option of a large windfall or too self conscious of wearing such a valuable item in a hostile workplace, Paul Scurfield watch enthusiast and saturation diver tried to fill the void with a few affordable watches built to a high standard using the best materials.
Divers working in the North Sea are made up in teams of three and on any working dive you have a diver 1, diver 2 and the bellman, diver 1 controls the dive and this is where the name for the watches come from, diver 2 is there to make his job easier, the bellman tends the divers from the diving bell and the divers work in the water for a maximum six hours, a normal saturation diving system will house four teams of three divers covering the full twenty four hours of the working day stopping only for bad weather or crew changes, the work period for the divers is 28 days including decompression.
The first model was the Diver One Silicon and that was going to be the only model, the Stainless Steel and the black NATO came shortly after, I was lucky I had a contact who could get me watches made in small numbers, I was also very lucky to get video footage diving from a Comex bell and I can imagine that's the first and probably the only time you will see the owner of a diving watch company testing his own watch saturation diving in the North Sea.
I had some time off work because the diving vessel I work on was undergoing a major refit so I had a go selling some watches online and got help from Lex at the Oceanictime Blogspot, a site I still sponsor, I got a good response as customers wanted quartz grab and go watches in 40mm and this took me to the forum Watches U Seek, Dive section, I have made some good friends and contacts there and I decided to sponsor the forum as I got a high level of support when certain members started attacking me and making threats, A forum member Bill Powell (user name Gaopa) takes all the pictures for the website, I have listened to a lot of the members advice and improved the first watches to make them more individual.
I ordered basic boxes for the watches but they were big and heavy, they would get damaged in the hold of the plane when I took them to work, I started sending them to the lads instead but they cost a lot to post. I needed some better packaging and then I remembered the Twist Boxes we get spare parts in, I never throw them away as they are brilliant for posting watches and watch parts, they are really light and strong, I found the company who made them and they were in Germany, they had an office in the UK and they told me they could make the correct size box for me but it would be the biggest size the machine could make, so I went for it and I am glad I did, I cut the foam myself and have lately just got round foam pieces cut for the lids which I also glue myself, I apply the dome sticker on the lid and this sets it off, this box saved £6 on shipping costs and one was ran over by the Royal Mail fork lift truck and was squashed, the watch was still working!
I would like to thank all the customers of Scurfa Watches for helping us grow and be able to invest in new models, We have taken no money for ourselves and we are not looking to sell tens of thousands of watches only as many as Alison and I can handle, we turn down shops and outlets on a daily basis and think it's too early for magazines so we turn them down as well.
The Bell Diver 1 is next but I have a lot of designs I have come up with in the many hours spent in the saturation dive chamber at 4 in the morning, some have never been done before, they are all simple and unique.
I'm really pleased with this watch, it took 15 months of design tweaks and changes but I'm really happy with the finished article and wear mine everyday, it's a 43mm watch but I hardly notice it and my wrist size is 7 inches.
I've been spending a lot of time working on the new Diver One range, the 40mm model in Swiss Made Quartz, I've designed the new version on the British/French Military Sub specification, the military required strong spring bars, highly visible dial/hands and a Matt finish.
The dial has been revamped and I wanted to make it highly visible but also simple. I also wanted to move away from the Omega Ploprof dial that is predominately used by Deep Blue watches, I was unaware of this when I first set out to make a few Diving watches for my workmates.
The watch will be available in:
A limited edition version of 100 each year will be available and named the M.S.17 the 17 after the year 2017, M.S. for Military Specification, next year it will be M.S.18 and this is a nod towards my love of Tudor Snowflakes especially the Marine Nationale models, the watches will be numbered and have a high quality Toxic NATO strap that Terry from toxicnatos.com is kindly letting me use again.
The Diver One has its own strap design based on the Italian leather straps seen on vintage watches today, as I'm using the same single shoulder spring bars as Rolex and Tudor did on the Submariner I'm hoping to see them fitted to Snowflakes and 5513 Subs.
As the same manufacturer that make the Bell Diver 1 are now making the Diver One models I expect the quality to be second to none.
A special edition is being produced for my colleagues at work involved in the Diving trials onboard the new Seven Kestrel Diving Support Vessel, the hands will be red to match the colour of the hull and a Kestrel logo will be engraved on the case back, the owners name will also be engraved on the case back.